Papa Adelson’s Emerging Tawdry Ties to the CIA
What’s worse than a Sheldon Adelson bankrolling President Trump’s 2016 election, leading to big payoffs for him in U.S.-Israeli policy and his own people (John Bolton), nested in the inner sanctum? What’s worse than a Sheldon Adelson influencing U.S. trade policy in China, mostly because of his titanic casino interests in Macau?
How about a Sheldon Adelson providing his elite security team as an interlocutor for covert, illegal CIA operations overseas.
Sounds like a bad spy thriller but read this impressive deep dive by Max Blumenthal at The Grayzone this morning. It’s a stomach turner as well as a page turner.
We reported here back in December that a Spanish company, UC Global, hired to provide security for the Ecuadorian embassy in London, was reportedly pulling double duty for the CIA by installing a separate surveillance system in the building that streamed and recorded Assange, his lawyers, and his visitors in every room, including the bathroom. This is clearly a breach of international law, specifically on the inviolability of diplomatic premises. The Grayzone has since obtained more court records and conducted numerous witness interviews that establish how insidious this spy operation was, and how close Adelson’s massive private security apparatus was to it.
At the embassy, visitors’ phones were seized by UC Global guards, with passwords, SIM cards and International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers copied. Embassy officials and at least one U.S. congressman were also secretly surveilled. More:
The ongoing investigation detailed black operations ranging from snooping on the Wikileaks founder’s private conversations to fishing a diaper from an embassy trash can in order to determine if the feces inside it belonged to his son. According to witness statements obtained by The Grayzone, weeks after Morales proposed breaking into the office of Assange’s lead counsel, the office was burglarized. The witnesses also detailed a proposal to kidnap or poison Assange. A police raid at the home of Morales netted two handguns with their serial numbers filed off along with stacks of cash.
One source close to the investigation told The Grayzone an Ecuadorian official was robbed at gunpoint while carrying private information pertaining to a plan to secure diplomatic immunity for Assange.
Throughout the black operations campaign, US intelligence appears to have worked through Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands, a company that had previously served as an alleged front for a CIA blackmail operation several years earlier. The operations formally began once Adelson’s hand-picked presidential candidate, Donald Trump, entered the White House in January 2017.
The center of this tawdry tale is a status-seeking mercenary (Morales) who was clearly bedazzled to be working in “the first division,” which is what he told his team after a trip to a security expo in Las Vegas in 2016.
Morales had just signed on to guard Queen Miri, the $70 million yacht belonging to one of the most high profile casino tycoons in Vegas: ultra-Zionist billionaire and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.
This brought Morales into contact with Israeli-American named Zohar Lahav, “who personally recruited Morales, then managed the relationship between the Spanish security contractor and Sands on a routine basis. After their first meeting in Vegas, the two security professionals became close friends, visiting each other overseas and speaking frequently,” according to Blumenthal.
During the spying operation, Lahav worked directly under Brian Nagel, the Director of Global Security for Las Vegas Sands. A former associate director of the US Secret Service and cyber-security expert, Nagel was officially commended by the CIA following successful collaborations with federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
After the election in 2016, newly inaugurated President Trump appointed Mike Pomeo his CIA chief. At this point Pompeo, as you remember, clearly made Assange a target for termination. The security scheme at the embassy, according to Blumenthal, kicked in from there. With meticulous reporting, including a ton of witness testimony from former UC Global employees who saw what Morales was doing as not only illegal, but selling “all the information to the enemy, the U.S.,” Blumenthal pieces together a convincing case that Morales was working on behalf of the CIA with the elite Sands’ security apparatus not only as the go-between, but the expert assist.
Today, Morales faces criminal charges ranging from violations of Assange’s privacy and the secrecy of his client-attorney privileges, as well as misappropriation, bribing a government official, and money laundering. Morales has denied the charges.
If you are still not persuaded, recall that Adelson was accused of working with the CIA at his casinos in Macau, providing a recruiting ground for agents so they could spy on Beijing. This was back in 2015, long before Trump’s entrance onto the scene.
Read the whole thing. Considering the powerful role Adelson has played in the White House it is worth taking seriously, whether you think Assange is deserves one’s sympathy or not.